Lasith Malinga had been Sri Lanka’s spearhead bowler in the shorter formats ODI’s and T 20’s for about a decade. He had shone in the T 20 format in particular and is even currently the leading wicket taker in the T 20 format. The opposing batsmen were awfully scared of his deadly ‘yorkers’,even the best batsmen had succumbed when facing him. Malinga should be hailed for his performances in the past.
Having captained the country in both formats Malinga was sacked as Sri Lanka’s ODI skipper on the verge of the ICC World Cup last year in the best interests of our team.
The Chairman of Selectors Ashantha De Mel had indicated that the fast bowler’s T-20 captaincy reigns were under the microscope and was lying on a thin tread after another humiliating series defeat in India.
This tour had only minuses for Malinga. After two matches, he had conceded 81 runs and did not take a wicket. He was out first ball in both games and then he is slow on the field. The Chief selector did say we have to review him while Malinga should has to review himself. Also the Chief selector had quipped that if he needs to be in the side, we need to see whether he could be captain. We have anyway appointed him tour by tour.
In the concluded West Indies T 20 did not bring any pluses to Malinga when we were whitewashed again.Malinga’s bowling was below par conceding 48 runs in three overs in the 2nd T 20. It is not felt that apart from his poor bowling performances he has been a very unlucky skipper.
This series defeat against India resulted in Sri Lanka slipping behind Afghanistan to number eight in official ICC T 20 rankings and Malinga’s inability to bring the team collectively in togetherness had been spotlighted. It should be reminded that, when Malinga and host of other front line players pulled out of the tour of Pakistan last year, Dasun Shanaka skippered a young team to a series whitewash against world’s number one ranked team. In-spite of this success the selectors opted a T 20 team with the usual seniors on the tour ‘down under’ where we were whitewashed once more under Malinga’s captaincy.
That tour was again a minus for Lasith Malinga. After two matches, he conceded 81 runs and did not take a wicket. He was out first ball in both games and then he was slow on the field. We have to review him. He himself has to review was what the Chief selector utter. Also ”if he needs to be in the side, we need to see whether he can be captain. We have anyway appointed him tour by tour”. Last year before the World Cup we had to remove him as ODI skipper," De Mel said as his performance was well below par. He has to lead from the front. He is still a good bowler. If we are removing him, then we have to find someone who is able to hold onto a place in the side.
With the ICC T 20 World Cup due to begin in October 2020 in Australia, we will have to first see whether we will have to qualify. It is up to the selectors to take a decision on Malinga, of course we should not forget the laurels he had brought to Sri Lanka during the past been the Number one T /20 bowler and his immense success while playing IPL for Mumbai Indians.
Sunil Thenabadu in Brisbane